A Republican senator whose proposal for sequestration flexibility was slapped with a veto threat by President Obama noted today that now the White House is internally urging the same thing of its agencies.
“Sequestration provides an agency with little discretion in deciding where and how to reduce spending. However, depending on an agency’s account structure and any existing flexibilities provided by law, some agencies may have a limited ability to realign funds to protect mission priorities,” Controller of the Office of Management and Budget Danny Werfel wrote in a memo.
Last month, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) co-authored legislation that would have given the administration the ability to make tailored, smarter spending reductions within the sequester instead of an across-the-board ax that fell especially hard on military readiness.
All but two Democrats voted against Toomey’s bill and Obama threatened to veto the legislation if it made it to his desk.
“I have said repeatedly that the sequester cuts can be done more wisely. There are innumerable opportunities for savings in the federal budget including unneeded projects, duplicative missions, waste, and fraud. We spend $8 billion a year for federal employees to go to conferences and trips. We spend money for a Cowboy Poetry Festival and a million dollars for taste-testing foods to be served on Mars. We have 80 different economic development programs spread across the federal government. We have 94 different programs to encourage the construction of green buildings. We have 47 different job training programs,” Toomey said.
“It is surprising that it has taken the administration this long to understand that prioritizing programs and the needed cuts is the way to go. I believe that this administration can and should find smarter spending cuts instead of threatening devastation to the most worthy projects. I will keep working toward this important goal.”